Images of numbers (and ourselves)

I’ve long been inspired by examples of effective use of visual imagery to represent quantitative information. It was this inspiration that initially drew me to Chris Jordan’s photography, but it is his ability to spark introspection through his images that makes them stay with me.

Jordan’s latest exhibit, “RUNNING THE NUMBERS: An American Self-Portrait“, is appearing this month at the Von Lintel Gallery in New York City. From the Von Lintel Gallery: “This series focuses on contemporary American culture through the unassailable lens of statistics. Each intricately detailed and astounding image, assembled from thousands of smaller photographs, portrays a specific quantity of a particular object.”

For me, aside from provoking thought regarding cultural practices that generate such numbers, these photographic works leave a lasting impression of the the enormity of the numbers they portray. As a “visual person”, the works also get past the often mind-boggling effect of such numbers when they appear in their standard numerical form, allowing me to grasp them a bit more.

Here is a sample piece:


Above: Plastic Bottles, 2007 (60″ x 120″) 5′ x 10″. Depicts two million plastic beverage bottles, the number currently used in the U.S. every five minutes.


Above: Partial Zoom


Above: Detail at Actual Size

Never underestimate the power of a planted seed:



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